Ep. 451 Five Reasons to Curb or Get Off Social Media
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Shows Main Idea – Spending time on social media does much harm to our lives and relationships. You can easily find 1000 studies to support this claim, and it matters not where you land on the political spectrum. We are addicted to social media because it feeds our deepest cravings, similar to any addictive behavior. The difference is how we have rationalized this addiction through our collective participation. For the courageous soul, I appeal to you to consider these five reasons to curb or get off social media.
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I have a bittersweet relationship with social media. I use it unidirectionally; I don’t talk to people on those platforms, and we don’t post anything about our family for reasons I’m about to explain. However, we have more than twenty-five platforms, using them to teach people how to mature as Christians. This tension of using them and staying away from them is in my soul daily.
When I began this ministry in 2008, I did not foresee the soul-corruption of social media, the surveillance of influential organizations, or how I was creating an algorithmic version of myself on the internet. I was ignorant of all these things. Once we got over our infatuation with this new plaything, I began studying its effects on me and those who come to us for help. Here are five observations.
- False Intimacy: People are insecure and have experienced relational distress in many forms. Social media gives a hurting or cynical soul a portal to maintain relational contact with humanity, but at arm’s length.
- Disinhibition Effect: Communication in cyberspace creates invisible walls, tempting people to say nasty things. Their lack of inhibition removes discretion, opening the way to be unkind. Popping off to strangers is a common occurrence. Rarely will you see such things as forgiveness and reconciliation.
- Normalizing Behavior: Parents pass their habits to their children, encouraging them to do similarly, and even weaponize them too soon with a phone so they can feed their narcissism by plastering themselves and their half-baked views all over the internet.
- Feeds Narcissism: The serial selfie is the perfect picture that reveals a person’s infatuation with themselves. Imagine going to someone’s home, and they open their photo album and show you twenty pictures of themselves with their latest hairstyle.
- Circumvents Sanctification: Transformation happens in long-term memory, but the internet retrains the brain to think in spurts, and the reward is one dopamine bump for each like, creating an almost unbreakable behavior.
What are some of the effects? Short-term memory, soul noise, voyeurism, anger, growing dissatisfaction with life, and fear of the future. There are more adverse side effects, i.e., reduction of intimacy because of porn use, lack of desire to connect socially, an inability to work through conflict, and ignorance about the devastation of our souls while exporting all of these things generationally.
Call to Action
- Does your internet usage mature you as a Christian? If so, how do you know? Will you make your case to a friend, giving concrete examples of how it matures you?
- Are there any adverse side effects from your internet use? If so, what is your plan to change?
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Rick launched the Life Over Coffee global training network in 2008 to bring hope and help for you and others by creating resources that spark conversations for transformation. His primary responsibilities are resource creation and leadership development, which he does through speaking, writing, podcasting, and educating.
In 1990 he earned a BA in Theology and, in 1991, a BS in Education. In 1993, he received his ordination into Christian ministry, and in 2000 he graduated with an MA in Counseling from The Master’s University. In 2006 he was recognized as a Fellow of the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors (ACBC).